ibusinesslines.com
ibusinesslines.com September 23, 2018


Files being held for ransom by hackers

06 December 2017, 09:04 | Kelvin Horton

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio talked to reporters Wednesday about this week's hacker attack on county servers. David Boraks WFAE

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio talked to reporters Wednesday about this week's hacker attack on county servers

The hackers' threat isn't to publish the files, but to keep them inaccessible. "Criminals have hit all types of organizations, public and private, including K-12 districts".

In a report from WSFA, Montgomery County officials said the backup servers were more than 90 percent full and they planned to wait until the next budget passed to upgrade the servers.

Diorio told county commissioners in a meeting that the files were being held for ransom as the hackers were demanding 2 bitcoins, which is now worth nearly $25,000 (at the time of this article's writing). A year earlier, the Horry County Schools in Conway, South Carolina, were hacked for $10,000 in bitcoin ransom.

Last month, hackers targeted the Sacramento transit system and held millions of files ransom for one bitcoin, which was worth approximately $8,000 at the time.

In recent years, companies including Equifax and Target, and also government bodies were attacked by hackers.

The official also explained that the county faces a dilemma in deciding whether to pay.


A question that this scenario brings up is whether the county government remains functional in the short run, given how many jobs are reliant on computer systems.

There is no estimated time on when the computer systems will be back up and running. Is it actually cheaper to pay the hackers off to once again have access to critical files? Instead, it wiped the entire computer system and reset it, which almost two weeks, CNN reported.

A hacker targeted county government computers in Mecklenburg, N.C. and is holding the files ransom for two bitcoins, officials said Tuesday. The computer infection is called "ransomware".

Officials in Mecklenburg, N.C. must make a hard decision by 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday: They must choose whether to pay two bitcoins-currently worth about $25,000-to hackers who are holding the county's computer files for ransom.

"Local governments and businesses do find themselves in a quandary when targeted by hackers", according to the site. If so, the county may be able to access the files quickly.

Vice Chair Jim Puckett said that the hackers are likely to comply because it makes them look more credible in future attacks. "So while they've frozen the servers, they've not compromised the data and not stolen data, as far as we know at this point", Diorio said Tuesday.



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